11 Best SUV’s With Captain Seats: A Full Guide

The world of SUVs is ever-evolving, but one feature that’s become increasingly sought-after is captain seats. These second-row individual seats, providing supreme comfort and easy access to the third row, have become synonymous with luxury and practicality in large vehicles.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of SUVs with captain seats, exploring three standout models that truly embody this trend. Each vehicle promises unique features, spaciousness, and the comfort of a first-class journey, so buckle up and prepare for a ride into the world of high-end SUVs.


11 Best SUVs With Captain Seats

1.      2023 Cadillac Escalade

Renowned for its grandeur and splendor, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade is the epitome of luxury on four wheels. What sets this model apart is its plush captain chairs in the second row. These chairs, fitted with high-grade leather and top-notch lumbar support, offer unrivaled comfort for passengers. Moreover, they feature heating and cooling functions, ensuring optimal conditions regardless of the weather.

Apart from the lavish seating, the Escalade is also notable for its cutting-edge technology. Equipped with a 16.9-inch OLED screen, passengers can enjoy their favorite movies or games in high resolution. The car’s spacious cabin, state-of-the-art noise cancellation system, and personalized climate zones further enhance the travel experience, making every journey feel like a special occasion.

2023 Cadillac Escalade exterior photo.

2.      2023 Lincoln Navigator

The 2023 Lincoln Navigator, often dubbed the ‘luxury yacht of SUVs,’ is another model boasting elegant captain seats. Wrapped in premium leather, these chairs offer a perfect balance of comfort and style. They come with an impressive array of features, such as a massage function, reclining capability, and plenty of legroom.

Beyond comfort, the Navigator also impresses with its suite of modern features. Its 12-inch digital instrument cluster displays all the necessary driving information in a crisp, easy-to-read format. Furthermore, the 20-speaker Revel Ultima audio system ensures top-notch sound quality, while the active noise control keeps the cabin serene and peaceful, allowing passengers to truly unwind.

3.      2023 Toyota Sequoia

For those who value reliability and functionality alongside comfort, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia makes an excellent choice. Its second-row captain seats are spacious and accommodating, providing superior comfort for long road trips. They slide forward and backward with ease, allowing convenient access to the third row.

But comfort isn’t all the Sequoia offers. Known for its robust performance and versatility, it’s equally at home on city streets or rugged terrain. It features a powerful V8 engine, high towing capacity, and advanced safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The Sequoia also boasts a user-friendly infotainment system and ample cargo space, making it a practical choice for families and adventurers alike.

4.      2023 Ford Expedition

The 2023 Ford Expedition is a well-rounded SUV known for its roomy interior, strong performance, and user-friendly tech features. It’s the captain’s chairs, however, that truly steal the show. These seats are reclinable, and adjustable, and come with armrests, providing a relaxed seating experience even on the longest of journeys.

What further sets the Expedition apart is its robust 3.5L EcoBoost® engine that combines power and efficiency. The SUV also features Ford’s latest SYNC® 4 infotainment system with a large 12-inch touchscreen and voice recognition. With plenty of cargo space and impressive towing capacity, the Expedition is an ideal companion for family vacations or adventurous outings.

5.      2023 Chevrolet Tahoe

Chevrolet Tahoe’s 2023 model is a full-size SUV that packs a punch in terms of performance, space, and luxury. Its second-row captain’s chairs are spaciously designed, ensuring passengers enjoy a comfortable and relaxing ride. With an easy tilt-and-slide mechanism, these seats also provide effortless access to the third-row seats.

Under the hood, the Tahoe boasts a potent V8 engine, ensuring a powerful performance in various driving conditions. Inside, passengers can enjoy a multitude of modern tech features, including a 10.2-inch diagonal Chevrolet Infotainment System and a rear-seat media system for entertainment on the go. With its comprehensive suite of safety features, the Tahoe ensures a safe and comfortable journey for everyone on board.

6.      2023 Audi Q7

Audi’s 2023 Q7 model is a midsize luxury SUV that combines stylish design, advanced technology, and superior comfort. Its second-row captain’s seats come with plush cushioning, ample legroom, and individual climate control, providing a first-class experience for passengers.

The Q7 is powered by a turbocharged V6 engine that delivers a lively and smooth driving experience. The cockpit is filled with high-tech features, including a dual-touchscreen setup and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Add to that the signature Quattro all-wheel-drive system and the Q7 stands out as a performance-driven, luxury SUV.

2023 Audi Q7 V6 turbo gas/electric engine

7.      2023 BMW X7

The 2023 BMW X7 is a luxury SUV that offers an unparalleled mix of performance, sophistication, and comfort. Its second-row captain’s chairs are designed with fine leather and come with features like heating, ventilation, and electric adjustments, ensuring a truly luxurious ride.

The X7’s 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V8 engine provides a dynamic driving experience. Inside, the SUV boasts a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a Harman Kardon surround-sound system, and an optional panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof. With its impressive set of driver-assistance features, the X7 ensures a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable journey, be it a city commute or a long road trip.

8.      2023 Infiniti QX80

The Infiniti QX80 is known for its blend of performance, luxury, and technology. Its captain’s chairs feature quilted semi-aniline leather, ample legroom, and a center console that provides armrests, cupholders, and storage space. This SUV truly prioritizes second-row passenger comfort.

Powered by a 5.6L V8 engine, the QX80 offers ample power and towing capacity. The dual-screen infotainment system and Bose 13-speaker audio system ensure every journey is enjoyable, while advanced safety features like blind spot intervention, lane departure prevention, and predictive forward collision warning ensure peace of mind.

9.      2023 Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride has been making waves in the SUV market for its expansive list of standard features, comfortable ride, and elegant design. Its second-row captain’s seats come with heating and ventilation, providing a luxury experience for passengers.

Under its hood, a robust V6 engine delivers reliable performance. Inside, an intuitive infotainment system and a suite of driver-assistance technologies like lane-keeping assist and forward-collision warning make the Telluride a safe and smart option for any family.

10.      2023 Buick Enclave

The 2023 Buick Enclave is a midsize SUV that stands out for its comfortable ride, spacious cabin, and powerful V6 engine. The second-row captain’s chairs offer generous space and easy access to the third row, making the Enclave an excellent choice for larger families.

Inside the cabin, the Enclave boasts a quiet, comfortable ride thanks to Buick’s QuietTuning technology. The SUV also includes an array of tech features like a hands-free power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration.

11.      2023 Acura MDX

Acura’s 2023 MDX model offers an appealing mix of luxury, performance, and technology. Its second-row captain’s chairs are designed with comfort in mind, offering plenty of space and easy access to the third row.

Under the hood, the MDX is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine that offers a lively and smooth driving experience. Its innovative tech features include Acura’s True Touchpad Interface, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and a premium ELS Studio 3D sound system. With the inclusion of AcuraWatch, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, the MDX ensures every journey is not only comfortable but safe as well.

2023 Acura MDX interior view of second-row captain seats.

Captain’s Seats: Pros

1.     Improved Comfort

Captain’s seats are generally more spacious and comfortable than bench seats. They often come with features like more adjustability, heating, cooling, and even massage functions.

2.     Easy Access to the Third Row

These individual seats usually have a space or a pass-through in between them, making it easier for passengers to access the third row without disturbing second-row passengers.

3.     Personal Space

Captain’s seats give passengers their own individual space, which can be especially beneficial on long trips to prevent the “cramped” feeling that can come with bench seating.

4.     Luxurious Feel

The presence of captain’s seats often gives the vehicle’s interior a more luxurious and sophisticated appearance.

5.     Versatility

Some models offer the option to remove the second-row captain’s chairs, providing flexibility for hauling large items.

Family loading up SUV.

Captain’s Seats: Cons

1.     Reduced Seating Capacity

The most notable downside of captain’s seats is that they reduce the overall seating capacity of the vehicle, typically from eight to seven, which might be a consideration for larger families.

2.     Limited Lateral Movement

With a pair of captain’s seats and a pass-through in the middle, moving side to side within the vehicle can be more difficult, particularly for children.

3.     Less Ideal for Child Seats

If you have multiple car seats, bench seating might be more practical. Captain’s chairs might limit the configurations for positioning car seats.

4.     Price

Vehicles with second-row captain’s seats are often more expensive than those with bench seats, both in initial cost and potentially for upholstery cleaning or repairs.

5.     Limited Cargo Flexibility

While some captain’s chairs can be removed for additional cargo space, this configuration might not offer as much flexibility or ease of use as a folding bench seat.

Ultimately, the decision between captain’s seats and bench seating will depend on your individual needs and priorities. If comfort, luxury, and easy third-row access are high on your list, captain’s seats could be the way to go. On the other hand, if maximum seating and cargo capacity are more important, a traditional bench seat might be more suitable.

How Much Are SUVs With Captain Seats?

The price of SUVs with captain seats varies significantly based on the brand, model, and the vehicle’s overall features and specifications. Lower-end models like the Kia Telluride or Volkswagen Atlas with captain’s seats can start in the low $30,000 range.

Mid-range options, like the Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer, typically cost around $40,000 to $50,000. Luxury SUVs, like the Cadillac Escalade or the Lincoln Navigator, with these features can easily exceed $70,000 to $80,000. Keep in mind that these are starting prices and higher trim levels or additional options packages can significantly increase the cost.

Which SUVs Have Second-Row Captain’s Chairs?

Several SUVs offer second-row captain’s chairs either as a standard feature or an optional one. Here are just a few examples:

  • Ford Explorer
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Kia Telluride
  • Honda Pilot
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Lincoln Navigator
  • Infiniti QX80
  • Audi Q7
  • BMW X7
  • Buick Enclave
  • Acura MDX
2023 Lincoln Navigator exterior detail.

Remember, the availability of captain’s chairs may depend on the specific trim level or options package chosen, so it’s always best to check with the dealer for the most accurate information.

Are Captain’s Chairs Worth It?

The worthiness of captain’s chairs in an SUV largely depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Here are some factors to consider:

1.     Comfort and Convenience

If you frequently have passengers in the second row, especially adults, captain’s chairs offer superior comfort and convenience. They’re generally more spacious and luxurious and provide easy access to the third row without the need to fold or slide seats.

2.     Space Requirements

If you have a larger family and need maximum seating capacity, captain’s chairs might not be the best choice as they usually reduce the total number of seats by one. On the other hand, if you prefer individual seating and personal space in the second row, they could be an excellent option.

3.     Cost Factor

As mentioned earlier, SUVs with captain’s chairs are often more expensive. If budget is a key factor in your decision, it might be worth considering whether the additional cost aligns with the value these seats provide to you.

4.     Resale Value

Some buyers consider SUVs with captain’s chairs more desirable, which might help boost resale value.

In essence, the decision is highly subjective. If the comfort, convenience, and luxury of captain’s chairs align with your needs and you’re okay with the potential extra cost, they could be absolutely worth it.

Which Honda SUV Has Captain Seats?

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the Honda Pilot is the Honda SUV that offers captain’s chairs. The Pilot is a three-row SUV, and on higher trims such as the Elite and Black Edition, second-row captain’s chairs are standard.

On the Touring trim, you can choose between a second-row bench seat or captain’s chairs. Please check with a local Honda dealer or the official Honda website for the most up-to-date information, as model features may change from year to year.

Honda Pilot steering wheel detail.

Is It Safe To Put A Car Seat In Captain’s Chair?

Yes, it is generally safe to install a car seat in a captain’s chair, provided you follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle’s guidelines for installation. All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet strict safety standards, so as long as they’re installed correctly, they should provide effective protection for your child.

However, the safest place for a child in any vehicle, including those with captain’s chairs, is typically in the middle of the back seat because it’s the furthest from any point of impact. In a vehicle with captain’s chairs, which usually don’t have a middle seat in the second row, the safest spot is often behind the passenger seat. This is because it allows the child to be reached more easily from the driver’s seat without the driver fully turning around.

Please note that these are general guidelines, and it’s important to consult your vehicle’s owner manual and the car seat manual for specific instructions.

What Is The Difference Between Captain Seats And Bucket Seats?

The terms “captain’s seats” and “bucket seats” are sometimes used interchangeably in the context of automotive seating. Both typically refer to seats that are designed for one person, have a contoured design for comfort, and include features such as armrests and the ability to recline.

Captain’s Seats

These are often used to describe the individual seats found in the second row of many minivans and SUVs. They offer features like enhanced comfort, and generous space, and often come with armrests and other luxury amenities. The term emphasizes the high level of comfort and spaciousness, making passengers feel like they’re in their own personal command post – hence the name “captain’s seats.”

Bucket Seats

Young couple enjoying a car ride.

This term is typically used to describe the front seats in cars, particularly sports cars. They’re named for their bucket-like shape that holds the driver and front passenger in place, especially during high-speed or high-G turns.

In summary, while there is a good deal of overlap, “bucket seats” are typically a term used to describe sporty front seats, while “captain’s seats” usually refer to luxurious, spacious seats in the second row of larger vehicles.

Why Might Families With Young Children Prefer Captain’s Seats?

Families with young children might prefer captain’s seats for several reasons. Firstly, the layout of the captain’s seats provides easier access to the third row, which is useful if you have older children seated there. It allows parents to reach back from the front seats more easily, without needing to step out of the vehicle.

Secondly, having a separate seat for each child can minimize squabbles on long journeys. Each child has their own space, which can reduce conflicts over personal space that can occur on bench seats. Moreover, captain’s seats usually come with additional features like individual cup holders, storage compartments, and USB ports for charging devices, further enhancing the personal space.

However, families with multiple young children who still need car seats might find that captain’s chairs limit the configurations for positioning car seats compared to a bench seat, so that’s a factor to keep in mind.

Can You Add Captain’s Chairs To An SUV That Didn’t Originally Come With Them?

While it’s technically possible to replace a bench seat with captain’s chairs in some vehicles, it’s generally not recommended. Changing the seating configuration might require significant modifications to the seat mounts and seatbelt anchors, which could compromise the safety of the vehicle.

Additionally, such modifications could void the vehicle’s warranty. It’s always best to choose a vehicle that originally comes with the desired seating configuration.

How Do I Maintain And Clean My Captain’s Chairs?

Maintaining and cleaning your captain’s chairs depends on the material they’re made of. For leather seats, regular conditioning is necessary to prevent the leather from drying out and cracking. Spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent staining. Vacuuming regularly can help keep the seats clean and prevent dirt and debris from grinding into the upholstery.

Fabric seats might require a bit more maintenance. They should be vacuumed regularly, and stains should be treated immediately using appropriate upholstery cleaners. Some fabric seats can also benefit from fabric protectants which repel spills and prevent stains.

Are There Any Non-SUV Vehicles That Offer Captain’s Seats?

Yes, several types of vehicles offer captain’s seats besides SUVs. Many minivans, for example, feature captain’s chairs in the second row as standard, including the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica.

Some full-size vans, like certain configurations of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit, can also be outfitted with second-row captain’s chairs. Even some pickup trucks, like the RAM 1500 or Ford F-150, offer front-row captain’s chairs in certain trim levels.

What Are The Advantages Of Captain’s Seats For Long-Distance Travel?

For long-distance travel, captain’s seats provide a considerable comfort advantage. The individual seats allow passengers to have their own personal space, reducing the feeling of being cramped during a long journey. They often come equipped with features such as more extensive adjustability, lumbar support, heating and cooling options, and even massage features in some luxury models.

These features can significantly enhance passenger comfort during long hours on the road. The separation between the seats also typically provides a pass-through to the third row, making it easier for passengers to move around inside the vehicle.

In recent years, there has been a trend towards increasing luxury and convenience features in captain’s seats. This includes features like enhanced adjustability, heating and cooling, massage features, and more.

Additionally, we’re seeing more integration of technology, with features like individual entertainment screens, wireless charging ports, and personalized climate control. Some car manufacturers are also experimenting with more flexible seating configurations that allow for easy switching between captain’s chairs and bench seats, although this is still relatively rare.


In conclusion, the choice between captain’s seats and bench seats in an SUV largely depends on individual needs and preferences. Captain’s seats offer unparalleled comfort and easy access to the third row, making them a great choice for families or those who frequently carry multiple passengers.

However, they do come with a few trade-offs, including reduced seating capacity and potentially higher costs. It’s always important to consider your specific needs, budget, and lifestyle when choosing the best seating configuration for your SUV.

Avatar photo
About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!